fbpx

Terminal V Podcast 040 || Joel Mull

The phrase “techno legend” gets banded about a fair amount but Swedish artist Joel Mull really has earned his place in this category. Having been an essential name since the mid-nineties his productions and performances alongside his Swedish peers even produced an unimaginative sub-genre of ‘Swedish Techno’. That is just how definitive an artist Joel Mull is.

By his own admission his sound may have ‘softened’ over the years but Joel is still a behemoth worthy of the legacy that he is constantly adding to. Over the years, he has appeared on the biggest labels such as Cocoon, Music Man Records, Harthouse, and his own Parabel label. The list goes on and on. This is also not even beginning to discuss his hugely influential part of the setup at Adam Beyer’ Drumcode imprint. In advance of his appearance at the upcoming Drumcode Edinburgh party we welcome Joel Mull to our podcast series…

 

 

Thanks for joining us Joel, how has things been going this year?

Heya. Thank you for the invitation. Oh, hmm how to answer this big question. Well the short version is all has been ok. On the DJ side, I have been lucky to get invited to play some really nice Festivals and parties in Germany and the UK and also here in Sweden. But it’s been a slow year obviously. We are still in a pandemic and the situation in a sort of limbo. And I know when I say lucky. Because there are so many talented artist and DJs out there that haven been playing much at all. I really wish we can be out of the tunnel. Hopefully soon, but who knows really.

What has been some of the standout gigs that you have played recently?

I had an amazing experience at the Fusion Festival Planet C Edition up north outside Berlin. The soundstage at the Turm Bühne is incredible. It was such a pleasure to play from the night into the sunrise. And off course I have to mention the Festival Nation Of Gondwana that also is situated in a forest area north of Berlin. It’s the highlight for me to play there every year. The festival has been arranged since 1993 and its audience, are ravers that keep coming back every year so it has a very nice blend of all ages and it feels like a family gathering. A lot of the ravers have family of their own so for them it’s also the highlight. I feel so much at home there. I’ve been involved in the German techno scene for such a long time and I’m half German on my mother’s side.

Also, something that stood out for me is the Drumcode party we had in Manchester at the Depo in October. It was massive. The party was so good and I have to thank the clubbers and ravers of Manchester that gave such a great feedback. They really know how to bring the party in Manchester!! Big up to the DC Family. It’s always such a great time to see everyone involved in the label.

Given the years you have put into the scene how do these events stack up with past years?

I know, time flies. I have to say they only get better and better. Every event is different off course but especially with the Drumcode nights, there is a certain energy hanging in the air. The DC parties in particular, one reason is because we are all travelling around playing gigs mostly by ourselves so the label parties makes it a little bit extra. We get some time to celebrate together and hang out with friends you don’t get to see that often.

Do any of the parties you play at the moment remind you of the techno hey day?

Some of them do yes. The ones that are a bit more underground and raw. Not too much productions on lights and all the extra. Just a gathering and a sound system some drinks. But we talking proper underground then and they are rare these days. But I do love a nice rave. Don’t we all?

It’s nice to see that promoters really put in the extra effort to create an atmosphere. The production of some events is just mind-blowing. The technical aspect of it and the visuals and the list goes on. It’s great to see how far the technical innovations that we was dreaming of back in the early nineties now exists. And think a lot of these cool things have been created within the dance culture community. Techno and graphic design, abstract lights, creating a new alternative space from the normal day etc. goes hand in hand it is what makes this culture stand out. It’s fantastic to see and be involved in this still after almost 30 years.

Speaking of the old days, there has been a lot of discussion about the ‘Swedish Sound’. What do you think contributes to this sound?

I guess the Swedish techno sound that we got the attention for was a sound rooted in a loopy, trippy, darker, harder and melancholic sound. And that came from us being inspired by Artists from Detroit, Belgium, Germany, Holland and the UK. I can only speak for myself off course. We all have different backgrounds. But at the time we inspired each-other and we were digging our own “tunnels in the ground”. I have to mention Cari Lekebusch for being one of the Godfathers of techno who was already out there playing and releasing music way ahead of us other. He gave me a lot of insight on how to do it. He was also a big Inspiration to me finding my own sound in the it all for sure.

Is this a sound you still identify with?

I guess it depends on where I would play and what time. But not so much anymore the same. I have become more “soft” for sure. I guess it does come with age? Haha.

Your label and agency Parabel has grown to become a true power in techno what is the secret to your success?

It’s fantastic to see that we can break through the noise a bit. Especially these days when the culture has become so wast and there is so much music and content that it almost blinds you. I don’t know if we have so much power. But it feels great to be able to create a platform for other artists and myself included and also be able to have label nights.

How do you find running it with your partner Linda? Does it make things easier or does it make it hard to section off work from your private life?

The label is one thing that we work on together. The fun part is to plan and listen to music together and look at the picture together and say this is the way. It should be fun to create art, right? And then it’s the agency. That’s a whole other creature that I’m not involved in. Linda is the boss then. And I can see all the time and hard work agents and promoters are putting in to be able to create a party. I see it and to be honest I would not be able to handle that. I would get too absorbed and stressed out. I have huge respect for promoters hustling to put together all the things that needs to get done before the speakers gets installed in the venue. I’m happy that my girlfriend is helping me with taking care of the bookings because then I know she will make it easy for the promoter and we all can focus on the music gathering that should take place without drama and stress.

Going back to your 2019 album ‘Arrow In Time’ on Parabel, with the more club driven tracks like ‘Mnemonics’ being well covered in your previous works is the more ambient works like ‘Irreversible’ a road you intend to travel more often?

Yes, the ambient side is a big part of who I am. And I actually started my DJ career in the chill out room at rave parties. I release my ambient music under my name DAMM and I had a album released last year on the label A Strangely Isolated Place. I think I always have a deeper ambient atmosphere in my sets too. I’m easily drawn towards the deeper stuff in music.

Was there any other label that you thought this LP might work on or was it written with Parabel in mind?

It was definitely always set to be out on Parabel.

What do you have coming up on Parabel and other musical projects next?

There are some things in the pipeline but nothing official right now. I have some fun collabs going on and also some new material for a ambient album. There is stuff cooking but i take it slow with releases at the moment.

You have kindly produced our latest podcast edition, tell us about your process for preparing and recorded the mix?

IIt’s always hard to get into the mood when recording a DJ set at home. When you’re at a club or a party you can get a feeling on where to go with the music. You can kind of see the path in front of you. But at home your alone and no-one is listening so the tension is bit gone. I’m always trying to hypnotise myself while playing. So that’s what I did.

When recording the mix where did you visualise yourself playing?

No. I didn’t. I just went with the flow.

You will also be playing at our Drumcode party this January, what can expect from your set?

I think I’m on pretty early so I’m not sure yet what to play. But Imagine that it will be kind of hypnotic. And trying to get the people into a zone so the next DJ can tell his/her story. Looking forwards to see Edinburg again. See you on the Dancefloor. 🙂

 

Interview by Stu Todd